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Chinese elated as Great Wall, Taj Mahal voted new 7 wonders

A Beijing-based Chinese tour operator said that Taj Mahal's inclusion along with the Great Wall could further promote tourism and enhance people-to-people contacts.
PTI | By HT Correspondent, Beijing
UPDATED ON JUL 08, 2007 03:44 PM IST

Chinese people were elated with the news that the Great Wall and the Taj Mahal made it to a new list of seven wonders, which could bring the two ancient civilisations closer and promote tourism and people-to-people understanding.

"I am very happy and proud that the Great Wall has been listed as one of the seven wonders," Jinshanshan, a leading Chinese exponent of Indian classical dance told PTI in Beijing.

"I am also very happy that the Taj Mahal, which I have visited many times, is also included among the seven wonders of the world," Jinshanshan, who has learned Indian classical dances under Leela Samson, said.

"I hope it will give further impetus for our two great and ancient civilisations to come closer and forge friendly relations, increase cultural contacts and develop their economies," she said.

A Beijing-based Chinese tour operator said that Taj Mahal's inclusion along with the Great Wall could further promote tourism and enhance people-to-people contacts, bridging the huge 'information gap' that exists between India and China.

"It is an honour and a matter of pride for us to know that the Great Wall has been included as one of the seven wonders of the world," Martha Meihua Ben, who works in a Chinese culture promotion company said.

Welcoming the Great Wall's successful inclusion, an official from China's Great Wall Society, Han Guowei expressed appreciation for the event's organisers and voters who voted for the Chinese monument, a cultural heritage of the world that belongs to all humanity.

Thanks to its great charm, the Great Wall was named as one of the new wonders, Han said, adding that all friends around the world are welcomed to China to experience its "greatness and eternity."

The Great Wall, winding across plateaus, deserts, grasslands and mountains, traversing Gansu, Ningxia, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Hebei and Liaoning provinces, stretches some 6,700 km from East to West.

Chinese government departments are currently undertaking surveys, using Global Positioning System (GPS) to re-measure the length of the Great Wall. The entire task is expected to be completed by next year, when Beijing hosts the 2008 Olympic Games.

Like a huge dragon, the Great Wall was built to link existing fortifications into a united defence system and better keep invading Mongol tribes out of China.

Built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the Badaling section of the Great Wall, 70 km northwest of Beijing, attracts over 130 million visitors a year.

It is the largest man-made monument ever to have been built and it is disputed that it is the only one visible from space.

Experts say thousands of people must have sacrificed their lives to build this colossal construction.

The Chinese government last year issued a new regulation to protect the Great Wall, which is increasingly threatened by damages caused by nature and human activities.

The Chinese cabinet declared that the Great Wall is a world cultural heritage site and the symbol of the Chinese nation. Better protection of the Great Wall will help promote patriotism and play an important role in developing spiritual values.

Commercial exploitation of the Great Wall will be strictly regulated, the draft regulation stated.

According to media reports, close to two-thirds of the Great Wall became rotten and used for commercial purposes.

Apart from the Great Wall of China and Taj Mahal of India, Brazil's Statue of Christ Redeemer, Peru's Machu Picchu, Mexico's Chichen Itza pyramid, Jordan's Petra and the Colosseum in Rome were chosen as the modern-day seven wonders of the world, according to a global vote by tens of millions of Internet and telephone voters around the world.

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